Office of the Fayette County Attorney

Mental Health Petitions

Kentucky law allows relatives or friends of people who are in crisis because of substance abuse disorders or mental illness to lawfully intervene and request involuntary court-ordered treatment for their loved one.

Steps in the Process


Studies show that involuntary treatment can be just as successful as voluntary treatment. Most individuals who are substance abuse impaired receive Court-ordered treatment only after they have become arrested for a crime while under the influence of the substance. Drugs and crime often go hand in hand because people who are substance abuse impaired are forced by their disease to resort to any means necessary to procure their drug. Court-ordered treatment can be effective regardless of who initiates it.

Denial and distorted thinking impedes their ability to make a rational decision. The “bottom” for many is death. Addiction is a progressive, life-threatening disease. The best hope of survival for a person who is substance abuse impaired is intervention.

Not all people who are substance abuse impaired are arrested or, in the event that they are, may not receive the necessary treatment.

This Act provides a means of intervening with someone who is unable to recognize his or her needs for treatment due to their impairment. This law will allow parents, relatives, and/or friends to petition the court for treatment on behalf of the person who is substance abuse impaired. Treatment options can vary depending on the circumstances of each individual.

Failure to comply may place the respondent in contempt of court.

The petitioner is obligated to pay all costs incurred in the process, including treatment. HOWEVER, there are many free or low-cost inpatient treatment centers in Kentucky, and several grassroots organizations can help you navigate treatment options.

A copy of the petition can be obtained at the district court clerk’s office by requesting Form #700A, the Verified Petition for Involuntary Treatment of Alcohol/Drug Abuse. The petition is also available at HERE, or by visiting our office during normal business hours.